Spontaneous Trait Inference (Unconscious Inference)

Spontaneous trait inference, also known as unconscious inference, is a term coined by German physicist Hermann von Helmholtz in 1867 to describe a reflex-like mental mechanism that is a part of the way we form visual impressions. This is the mechanism that causes us to be fooled by optical illusions, such as when watching a sunset we describe the motion involved as "the sun (a stationary body) moving below the horizon" rather than the truth that the horizon (as part of the earth, a moving body) is moving to hide the sun.

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